Nov 28, 2011

A Proclamation of the Season

I'm burning through serious quantities of fur
Whereas, it will soon be colder than Eskimo snot, all the nearby water will soon turn solid and the nation of Lunker Hunt does not recognize ice fishing as an enjoyable pastime; and,

Whereas, I now have a place to fondle material prior to purchase, a freshly organize tying desk and a reasonable supply of dried hardwood to burn; and,

Whereas, I don't really enjoy tying flies unless there is nothing else to do and/or my box is running low; and,

Whereas, there is nothing else to do and my box is running low.

Therefore, be it ordained by me, the fly tying season is officially open.

Nov 26, 2011

Apocalypse Fish and the Social Net

Dave and I planned to fish but had trouble deciding on a spot. The chance for success was slim due to cold water temps so I was trying to limit my gasoline bill. While the missus cooked a delicious breakfast casserole, Dave acted as advanced scout. His report from Charter Oak came back with windy conditions, dead lily pads and no fish. Dave went looking for a heavier coat and I checked The networking is a wonderful thing:

Arkham City? I am not "Lol."

Too cold to fish? After shaking the wimp out of Mark, we agreed to meet up and try out his new sportsman's club membership. The experience was unique to say the least.

All of us caught fish, Mark and I some more than Dave others, but what made the day interesting was the constant sound of gunfire. The lake is almost completely surrounded by shooting ranges, and the late breaking warmth brought the gun nuts out in full force. It was like fishing in the middle of a g'damn zombie apocalypse.

"That sounds like a giant gun."
"Yea, it's at the hand gun range too."
"I wonder what kind it is."
barely a hand gun."
"I think it's a two hand gun."

I'll call him "Black Stripe"

If the lake fishes like that in late November, it may be worth another look in May. I may even check into membership options...if I can forget the sour taste of my last club membership.

It would be a perfect excuse to buy that hand-cannon I've had my eye on. BOOM! BOOM!

Nov 20, 2011

Big Fish, Big Picture

Beta testing is complete and the change is live. To celebrate this new Lunker Hunt layout, please enjoy this big picture of a big fish (originally posted as a small picture in 2008):

The reason for the shake up: now I can choose the "X-Large" setting for pictures instead of manually adjusting the code for a width of 550 pixels. Hopefully the site is a little more reader friendly too...what do you think?

Nov 14, 2011

Mud Butt Print and Huge Racks

The Illinois autumn hasn't started until you see antlers peeking over tailgates. And it turns out certain deer hunters will thank a fisherman who kicks up three deer in an afternoon...albeit sarcastically.

The honey-do list had me reorganizing the storage room this weekend, most likely Saturday. With the cold snap ending in time for the weekend, I cautiously pointed out the Sunday forecast included 40mph wind...a perfect day for interior domestic work. It turned into an easy negotiation and the Sunday fishing plan became Saturday fishing.

October and November in Illinois add a curve ball to planning an outing on water. The duck/goose hunting lobby must be strong because some the best public lakes are closed to fishing and all have additional restrictions for anglers. This is when it pays to have an understanding of public access spots to rivers and creeks. Unfortunately, such spots have the added danger of the deer archery season that opened on October first. If a dude is hard up for some fishing the best he can do is wear bright colors, keep his head down and trust fellow outdoorsmen to look closely before shooting.

I found my fall fishing cap and set out with smallies on the mind. I knew the bite would be tough with nightly air temps dipping below the freeze line. I'd be fishing a new spot, but if I could find a wintering hole maybe I would get lucky enough to drop an offering in the tiny strike zone - the stars would align and I'd beat my chest with glory.

It was easy to find the public access point, it was marked by ten other trucks - each with a whitetail sticker in the window - some with camo lettering declaring the importance of "huge racks." I suited up and saw my first dead deer of the year, antlerless and petite.

Me: "Looks like you've already had some luck"
He: "Ahhh, he's just a little skip"
Under the bridge, I missed three strikes before finally landing the first fish. A sign of life: at least the chub are biting.

Three kids showed up to throw rocks with Grandpa. They arrived just in time to see me lose footing and bust ass. Luckily I had the presence of mind to toss the rod far from potential damage...into the frigid knee deep water.
Gramps: "Come over here because he's fishing on that side"
Kid #1: "But I want to talk to him"
Kid #2: "You can't, he's a stranger"
Me (falling): "@#&%!"
Gramps: "You okay?"
I rolled up my sleeve to retrieve the stick and started hoofing downstream away from shame and toward my impending glory.

I spent too much time working a root ball, a couple more chubs came to hand but still no sign of bronze. Three deer sneaked in and settled in a nearby thicket, only to scare the crap out of me when I finally gave up on the the hole. The deer headed off downstream, and I made a mental note to not be a huge sissy when I saw them again.

Where the creek bent, it also entered an unfishable section of ten foot shear walls. From the mouth of the "mini canyon" I could double hall downstream into the deepest water around. Close enough to work a small area of the hole and just far enough to cause a wind knot...or twenty.

If there were still smallies in this creek, that was the spot...I'm sure of it but I wasn't far from where the creek dumped into a river...there may be no smallmouth in the creek at all. This is where the gamble on location would pay and I tried my hardest to cash in. The small section I could reach was worked over with every presentation I could manage: buggers, Clousers, crawdads, meat whistles and mad toms - fast, slow, slower and slowest.

Back at the bridge I saw my butt print in the mud. The kids were gone and the hunters were starting their second shift. I wondered if my rear window was fit for the bass sticker it displays...without it there would be room for a sixteen point silhouette and camo letters.

Me: "I spooked a few downstream, you might want to head north instead"
He: "Thanks"

Nov 7, 2011

Before and After - Domesticated

Not long ago I shared my tying space in this post. Sunday things got a lot more organized...and just in time for the fly tying season.


Activities such as fly tying are still relegated to the basement, but we're making great strives toward eventually having equal rights a spot on the main floor.

Now I just need to find a desk lamp, procure a chair and fabricate something to hold the vise.

I am accepting wagers on how long it takes me to "unorganize" the new desk and can offer even money for all dates after December first.

Nov 2, 2011

Written and Unpublished

Fishermen have their last cast. Wing shooters have the second barrel. Neither enjoy using it, both usually do. Depending on the day, it's a last chance or final hurrah.

It dawned on me recently that Lunker Hunt won't last forever. Eventually I will publish my last post. It is inevitable but the question of timing isn't exactly clear. Hopefully it happens before I piddle out with apathy, sloth and higher obligation.

Did I really start this site with an expectation of not finishing? Will it end with a fizzle or a bang? I'd rather go out in style.

As such, I have begun writing my final post. There it sits in the pile of other unpublished work, to be tweaked and adjusted over time. Maybe someday you'll read it.